Like others have mentioned, I feel like I've tried 800 different ways to roast a chicken. After trying Thomas Keller's simple roasted chicken recipe in the Bouchon cookbook, I knew I had found the method for me. No butter. No oil. Just pure, delicious, schmaltz-y goodness. I've made a few simple adaptations to his recipe, and wanted to share them with you. —arielleclementine
4-5 lb happy chicken
kosher salt and black pepper
pillow of fat, plucked from the cavity of your chicken
Pat down your chicken obsessively, until it is perfectly dry. If you haven't already done so, remove the little pillow of fat that's attached to the front of the cavity of your chicken. (If your chicken doesn't have this, see if you can trim some fat from other parts of the chicken).
Put a hefty sprinkling of salt and pepper in the cavity of the bird, and then truss the bird with kitchen string. Put the chicken in a large cast iron skillet, and sprinkle it liberally with salt and pepper, turning the bird to coat the sides as well as the top. Toss the fat you pulled off the bird into the skillet as well, so that it will render in the oven. Put the bird into the oven immediately. It is very important that you salt the bird right before you put it in the oven. If you salt the bird and then wait for the oven to preheat, the salt will draw moisture out of the chicken, and this will inhibit your skin from crisping.
Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, lift up the chicken and put the diced potato into the skillet, so it can mingle with the rapidly-rendering chicken fat. Put the chicken back on top and put it back in the oven for another 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven, and put on a cutting board. Toss the fresh thyme into the skillet, and mix it in so it coats the potatoes. Tilt the skillet so that your chicken fat/thyme liquid runs to the side, and spoon some of this over the chicken, so that the bird becomes shiny with chicken fat and flecked with thyme. Allow the bird to rest for 10 minutes, then devour, along with those schmaltz-y potatoes.
I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).